For the most part, this will be pretty familiar fodder for you guys, but I thought there’s something wrong with the way these posts usually go. Ordinarily, we post up a load of pics and lists and thoughts about a bag or rig, and pretty much admire each other’s cool stuff. But that’s pretty pointless to me without context. What are you carrying on person? How far away is medical help? How long are you away from home, and how far? What are your colleagues and family equipped to deal with? What’s legal where you are? Are you in a city, airport, federal building or a farm far away from the urban sprawl? How do people dress where you are?
When I started out on all this tacticool gadgety stuff, I pretty much bought stuff that looked cool, did a job and I could afford (barely). I think that’s changed. Now, when I buy something, there’s one question I ask; What capabiity does this add? Because of this, I’ve cut out most of the doohickeys I used to like to carry and pared down my carry to stuff that I need. There’s a bias to things that do many jobs well for little real estate, those that get you out of a bind, and those that do one job very well.
With this in mind, here’s what’s on my person every day. Only thing that ever changes is what watch I wear.
SAK – Victorinox Minichamp – Crazy utility to it’s size
Pen – Caran D’Ache 849 with a fisher refill. Clicky for ease of use but still solid metal
Light – FourSevens Noisy Cricket Quark – 800 lumens on every click, small, rechargable, low mode accessible on twist of bezel. Glow tape to find at night.
Knife – Spyderco UKPK Lightweight – Great simple UK legal slipjoint, clip broke ages ago and keep meaning to replace it, expensive here though.
Phone – Nexus 5 in Magpul case with Cyflect marker
Keys – On leather and HK snap hook, + bottle opener/pry bar and CPR mask.
Watch – Seiko SKX007 on Phoenix NATO strap. Also pictured Traser (Duty watch) and Mondaine (tritium equipped but smart)
And these three bags are what I carry daily.
Colour is off in this pic.
(Left to right: Custom handmade leather satchel, CDHTac Finland custom pack, Arc’teryx LEAF Khard 30)
Which one is used depends on what needs carrying, occassion and sesason.
Anyway, the bag is custom. It was made by CDH-Tac Finland, who’s an awesome bag maker. I looked for months, and he’s far and away the best guy I could find for the job. The things that closed it were his shoulder straps (most important bit), and creativity and attention to detail.
FB Here: https://www.facebook…141110645925106
You can see the build in progress, as well as examples of his other works here: http://itstactical.c…bag/#entry41561
There were a few specifications, it had to be thin enough to the body to sit in a chairlift or vehicle without being pushed off a seat, slim enough to go through doorways easily, be lined with light material, and be able to be mounted to larger packs or load bearing vests.
Externally, the bag is pretty straight forward. Molle is no longer a standout feature in a crowd. Every man and their dog have tactical styled bags now. They do not however have any idea what to hang off them, or much taste. Soft parts are all ranger green, hardware is tan. There’s only room for a single column of PALS down each side, still useful. That grimlock on the right carries my ball cap. On the front there’s a big field of loop for patches, though I’m usually quite subdued on that front. The zip is for entry to a compartment the size of the panel for documents and miscellany. This compartment carries:
Jetstream Four + 1 Pen and pencil
Arc’teryx Rho LTW beanie
Headphones, tidied with a bulldog clip
Work ID Lanyard
Now to what is usally the most important part of a pack, and also usually not much considered – the shoulder straps. These are why I chose CDH, low profile and comfortable. In this picture I’ve only got half of the removable sternum strap on, decided to post this while adding it back on. With a pack of this size and use, the importance is lower than on a pack for multi day trips, but it’s still going to be on my back almost every day, and I can attest to the comfort. One feature of these straps is that they’re removable, allowing you to run the bag slick as a vehicle med pack for example, or to use the 1″ ITW buckles to mount direct to armour or a larger pack.
It’s loop lined for velcro pouches, with a few rows of pals along the top for hanging pouches. I made the switch to a hook and loop system for a few reasons. I don’t want to buy three of everything for different bags for starters. I like to drop in what works to whatever pack I’m using any day. I was already way into it after using my Khard for a few months, but the utility was proven when ripping out a med pouch to rifle through it in a high stress situation. I prefer it to MOLLE / PALS as it’s fast to switch, and I’m not a fan of having a load of stuff hanging off the outside of my pack. Fine for camping bag if that’s your thing, but it draws the wrong kind of attention around here, and overbuilt for internal pouches.
The two pouches at the top are MOLLE, basically because that’s the only option, and I like to ocassionally go very low profile and stick them in the front pockets of my jacket. Pretty much unnoticable, but between them will cover most eventualities. On the left is a Maxpedition mini pocket organizer, set up as a pocket trauma kit, on the right is a Blue Force Gear Small Admin Pouch, setup with the kit to sort most situations. Between them is a bottle of hand sanitizer on a carabiner, and below are my admin and medical cubes, with a Hydro Flask on the left and a folded up bag underneath it.
The lid of the bag is also lined with loop, and folds completely open. The zip pocket is sized about perfect for a tablet or e-reader, and holds my Nexus 7 tablet. The zip pockets are lined with multicam litelok, which are the kind of awesome touches that CDHTac excels at.
This side has some patches and a maxpedition admin panel, with a wallet for loyalty and travel cards, as well as black and silver sharpies, pens, pencils, a ruler and a titanium spork.
Pocket Trauma Pack
This pouch has the basics in it, covering most medical emergencies until more help arrives.
FoxSeal Chest Seals
Steropore adhesive dressings
Pocket CPR Mask
Small Admin Pouch
This pouch is pretty much a ‘save the day’ pouch, as the contents have on many occassions. The multitool+bit kit especially. The Black Diamond Ember is a rechargable flashlight that also can be used to charge mobile devices.
SOG Bladeless Multitool
SOG Hex Bit Kit
BD Ember Power Light
Paracord deployment Lanyard
Cable, micro USB
Stiff plastic sheet
Large Admin Cube
The bulkier but useful items live here. The FourSevens 123 Mini is here for strobe and beacon functions (signalling/visibility) and longevity of lithium batts.
Powermonkey Solartraveller Integrated water-resistant solar panel and battery
MU Folding USB charger British three pin plugs are bulky
Medium Dry Bag
12V USB Charger
Marker Panel LW w/SOLAS tape
Contains various meds, plasters (bandaids), safety pins, tape, tweezers, gloves
Large Med Cube
I immediately regretted taking everthing out to take this picture. I’m not a paramedic, so this wasn’t packed for ease of access and replenishment, it was packed to fit the most lifesaving gear into the smallest space. So packing everthing back in took about ten minutes.
Bolin Chest Seal
Asherman Chest Seal
H+H Rolled Gauze
Trauma Shears, orange
A note on buying custom. Do your research, find someone you trust, have a conversation, and give them some latitude for their creativity. Get it right the first time.
This post originally appeared on the ITS Tactical forums in August 2015. Some elements of the pack have since changed, but it’s still holding up very well and shows almost zero signs of wear.